Ana María Arévalo Gosen
The agonizing world of women in Latin American prisons is one that is little discussed, but that has repercussions for the region. There is a permanent unresolved crisis in the Latin American penitentiary context that affects us all generationally. A woman's imprisonment does not end with her, but extends generationally. This work focuses on the conditions of detained and imprisoned women, because it places them in a position of additional vulnerability and stigma for life. Far from being places where offenders can repair the damage, rehabilitate or integrate into society, these are spaces of suffering. The region's detention centers are a reflection of the hell these women have to live through. They are claustrophobic, critically overcrowded and extremely violent. The procedural delay does not allow separation by crime or age. For transgender detainees it is a particularly brutal experience, because their gender identity is not respected and they have to wait for their trial with male detainees. To survive, they depend on their families, as they are the ones who must carry their food and water. However, there is an alliance between them so that none of them dies of hunger. They share everything, the mattresses, the clothes, the intimacy of their love stories, the tears shed for their children. The words written on the walls of these centers tell us that hope is elusive: 'I don't expect anyone to believe me, because I don't believe in anyone.' To get out of the detention center and into prisons, many of them plead guilty. Guilty of abortion, mariticide or infanticide, gang membership, drug trafficking, extortion, among the most common. How then do they sort out the real criminals from the innocent? Días Eternos is a work in progress that I started in 2017 in my country Venezuela and now in El Salvador. It aims to document with great visual impact and with testimonies, the situation of women deprived of liberty, its causes and consequences in Latin America.